Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of third round pick Tanner Muse

Las Vegas Raiders, Tanner Muse (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders, Tanner Muse (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders selected Clemson safety Tanner Muse with their third and final third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday.

The Las Vegas Raiders ended the third round by adding Clemson Tigers safety Tanner Muse. The pick showed that the team had two obvious priorities in the first half of the draft.

They entered draft night with glaring needs at wide receiver and defensive back. The team’s front office has done everything in their power to turn those weaknesses into strengths.

Las Vegas has added superstar Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden, and Bryan Edwards to their receiving corps. They also utilized their only other picks to select Damon Arnette and Muse to revamp their secondary.

Here are my grades for every aspect of the Tanner Muse selection.

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The Need: A

For the first time this offseason, it feels as though the Raiders have a competent secondary.

After allowing an NFL-high 8.3 yards per pass attempt last season, it appears as though reinforcements are on the way. Muse adds a legitimate talent to one of the franchise’s biggest positional needs.

Las Vegas was slated to enter the season with Johnathan Abram and Damarious Randall as their starting safeties with Jeff Heath pitching in as well. Heath was a longtime member of the Dallas Cowboys who took over as a consistent starter in 2017.

Randall on the other hand bounced between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns while also assuming a staring role in 2017.

Both are the epitome of average NFL players. Both would have been solid starting options in 2020. However, neither had the playmaking abilities to be major difference-makers for the team.

The addition of Muse offers the Raiders legitimate upside at the safety position. He was a key cog for an extremely successfully Clemson defense. He also had the opportunity to consistently defend NFL-level players while playing at the powerhouse school.

Muse should immediately contend for a starting position this season. If he is able to earn that role, his presence on the roster will also allow either Heath or Randall to provide excellent depth as a third safety.

The Value: B+

This was a steal for Las Vegas.

ESPN ranked Muse inside the top-10 safeties in the draft and rated him as the 61st best overall player. It was a dream scenario for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to see him on the board at pick No. 81.

He is a phenomenal talent, who fits a major need, and was available at a discounted rate. This was an easy pick for Las Vegas.

The Talent: A-

I really like Muse as a football player. He recorded the third-fastest 40-yard-dash time of any defensive back at the NFL Combine and is extremely versatile.

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He appears to be the full package. He has blistering speed to keep up with his opponents in coverage, excellent power as a tackler, great flexibility, and a motor that never stops. He likely profiles as a safety hybrid player who can impact both the pass and run defense.

While he can hold his own in coverage, the Raiders would be unwise to use him as a traditional safety. Doing so would cut out half of his playmaking abilities. He will excel if given opportunities to play inside the box, as well as in coverage.

Muse also has the potential to be the type of player that every coach in the NFL covets — someone who has the size, strength, and speed to cover opposing tight ends one-on-one.

The NFL is increasingly full of stars like Rob Gronkowski, George Kittle, and Travis Kelce. These players are a nightmare to defenses because they are too strong for opposing cornerbacks but too fast for the bigger linebackers.

Muse has the ability to be the ultimate X-factor on the Raiders’ defense.

Overall Grade: A-

I predict that Tanner Muse will be a valuable member of the Raider’s secondary for the foreseeable future. While he may never reach the level of Pro-Bowler or All-Pro, he should provide stability and playmaking at the position.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of third-round pick Bryan Edwards. dark

With any luck, Muse and Arnette will be able to stabilize the Raiders’ secondary for years to come.